Car doctor helps someone who is looking for an eye-catching car

This week, car doctor Justus Visagie gives advice on head-turning coupés, and three bakkies worth considering
This week, car doctor Justus Visagie gives advice on head-turning coupés, and three bakkies worth considering


I’m interested in owning an eye-catching, reliable sports car. My choices rank as follows: 2013 Mercedes-Benz E350 coupé, 2012 Benz C350 coupé, 2014 Opel Astra OPC, BMW M3 E46 (manual) or BMW M3 E92 (manual). I know the cars I’ve just mentioned are not the best when it comes to reliability, so please help me choose. I’m a Mercedes-Benz fan, but I wouldn’t mind owning another make.

I would avoid all of those options except for the BMW M3 E46, but they have become collectable and owners know this. One that’s in good, reliable condition will set you back R400 000. Rather look for an Audi S3 with a full service history from Audi.

Ask them to pull the records to see what has been replaced over time. Let’s say the car had its gearbox replaced at 35 000km; it would suggest the car was used for drag racing or robot racing.

Ditto for new brake discs – not pads – every 30 000km. If the car has 160 000km on the odometer and the gearbox was rebuilt at 120 000km, or not at all, it means it has probably led an easy life. Still, buy a good after-market warranty.

Also consider Lexus. On AutoTrader, I saw a mint 2012 Lexus IS 350 SE sedan with 50 000km for R220 000, and a 2016 Lexus RC 200t EX coupé with 31 000km for R390 000. That’s what I would buy.

The 2016 Lexus RC 200t EX coupé

I own a 2005 Nissan Hardbody 3.3 V6 DC 4x4. It’s still in good condition, with the normal wear-and-tear repair required here and there. As a smallholding farmer, the vehicle is handy owing to its power, but there’s a shortcoming in its load capacity, so I need a full-base bakkie. Please advise if it would be worthwhile to keep it as a back-up or sell it privately, since the 4x4 functionality is not being used to its maximum.

As you no doubt know, the 3.3-litre V6 loves to consume copious amounts of petrol. This means it’s not a desirable used buy, and is worth more to you than what you would get for it.

If you don’t owe anything on it, keep it as your back-up vehicle.

All the best with the farming enterprise.

My wife would like to buy a 2014 bakkie and the dealer insists that the warranty should be included in the finance deal from Absa. According to the dealer, that is normal and compulsory. Is this true? I would like to buy the warranty extension elsewhere.

That is not true. Rather buy from a different dealer.

VW Amarok
The VW Amarok is compact and reliable

I’m looking at getting myself a Ford Ranger 3.2 or 2.2 XLT, probably a 2014 or 2015 model. I would like to know what the common problems are, what to look out for when test driving and how reliable these bakkies are. Lastly, is the VW Amarok perhaps a better option?

From those years, the best Ford Ranger to choose is the 2.2-litre with a six-speed manual gearbox. It is a proven and reliable engine, but check for excessive smoke from the exhaust.

Keep the radio switched off while listening for any strange noises when you shift gears.

When going faster than 70km/h, hold the steering wheel lightly to see if the vehicle pulls to one side, which it should not do.

Also make sure that the steering wheel does not vibrate. The VW Amarok is a more pleasant drive in the city because it’s a bit more compact than the Ranger.

If you buy one from 2015 or younger, it should be reliable. Buy from an established dealer, such as a Ford or Volkswagen agent.

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